Nearly two months after Congress missed its deadline to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), California is just a few weeks away from exhausting its reserves, and doesn't yet have a plan to replace the $2.7 billion in federal support it stands to lose.
"The reason that there’s no plan B is that there’s no good options," said Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access.
CHIP provides Medi-Cal coverage for children whose parents make too much to qualify for the program. The cutoff point is 266 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $65,000 for a family of four.
California officials project the state will run out of money for the program around the end of the year. Even if it does, California is legally obligated to continue providing coverage for almost all of the children who qualify. Pregnant women, who make up less than 2 percent of those in the program, would lose their coverage without a new infusion of federal dollars.
Last year 2 million California children received health care through CHIP.